April edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Moving the historic dress and textile collections at the County Museum
Collections Assistant Melanie Williamson in the existing dress and textile collection store


Welcome to the April edition of the  Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service e-newsletter. 

Work has started on moving the historic dress and textile collection to its new store in Stafford. We will keep you posted on how this progresses. 

Don't forget our Staffordshire History Day on 28th April. There are still a few places left. Book here


Burton upon Trent Civil Defence Map

Collections from Lichfield soon to be available at Stafford

We are delighted to announce that the collections formerly held at Lichfield Record Office will be available once again in their new home at Staffordshire Record Office from early May. Look out for the announcement on our website and on social media. Some of the collections will require advance notice for production because they are held at our outstore and the online catalogue, Gateway to the Past, will show that in due course. For those of you whose research has not yet brought you to Stafford, we look forward to welcoming you in the coming months at Staffordshire Record Office, where you will see some familiar faces from Lichfield. Opening hours, a location map and information about parking are on our website 

The relocation of the Lichfield Collections has brought to light some interesting items not previously catalogued, such as this Burton map from World War Two showing civil defence points including fire services, rest and feeding centres, public shelters, first aid points and medical centres. This image shows a small portion of the map. The base map used was an old Ordnance Survey map, by 1939 the Poor Law had been abolished! 

Objects from the County Museum Collection at Stafford Library

Optical Illusions at Stafford Library

Over the Easter school holidays the Museum Team visited Stafford Library with  objects from the collections that create optical illusions. Children were able to make a pocket mirror or a thaumatrope to take home. One young visitor loved looking at the old cameras because she had never seen them before. The adults enjoyed reminiscing about our 1970s Viewmaster.

Place names project
Glebe Terrier for Abbots Bromley (B/V/6/A1)

New Place-Name Project at Lichfield needs Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers for our exciting new volunteering project based in Lichfield. The Staffordshire Place-Names Project is run in partnership with the Institute for Name Studies (at Nottingham University) and the English Place-Name Society and aims to collect historic spellings of place-names from original documents which will then form the basis of the English Place-Name Society Survey of English Place-Names in Staffordshire. The group will meet on Tuesdays from 10-12 at Lichfield Record Office and there will be an introductory session, including a palaeography workshop, on Thursday 26th April. If you are interested in joining us or would like to find out more please contact Jennifer Lewis

Extract from account book for the Overseers of the Poor of Grindon (7614/1)
Extract from account book for the Overseers of the Poor of Grindon (7614/1)

New Additions to the Collections

Another nice find in the Moorlands! This is an account book for the Overseers of the Poor of Grindon (7614/1). It contains very detailed accounts between 1817 and 1839 for all sorts of payment to people in need. These range from payments for clothes or fuel, or to people out of work or injured, to labour and materials for house repairs. At the front there is even a list of named fathers of children born to single women. At the back there are also a few years of churchwardens’ accounts. One of our volunteers has already tucked into its juicy contents.

Placement student Liberty Smith at work

Lending a Hand to Preserve the Past

Liberty Smith is a second year history student at Keele University and is currently on a work placement at the Staffordshire Record Office. We asked her what made her opt for us?

"Being a resident of Stafford my entire life, I was intrigued as to how the history of this town and the surrounding county is preserved. My main focus has been helping to update the record office’s catalogue by providing summaries of transcriptions of letters in the Bradford Collection. These are bundles of letters exchanged between members of the Bridgeman family who resided at Weston Park in the early 19th century, including letters from Orlando Bridgeman with the army in Spain and Portugal in the Peninsular Wars and from Charles Bridgeman, who was in the navy, from around the world. This is to help make the sources more accessible and understandable to anyone searching the online catalogue for relevant subjects as diverse as medical complaints, warfare and falling in love.

Aside from this, I have also been looking at the roles of volunteers at the office, which is an integral part of the Archive Service. I have enquired about what they do and the projects they undertake that benefit the Record Office and its users. The transcriptions I have been reading through were all done by a volunteer, which goes to show the impact they have is massive. Overall, I have enjoyed my time here and found it very interesting, but it has also shown me how important places like this are when it comes to maintaining and preserving the history of the county."

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